The Castle

A 'warts & all' account of the transformation of a run-down pub in Bradford-On-Avon into a 'proper' Inn (food pub with rooms). Written by Alex Reilley & Pierre Woodford

Monday, June 04, 2007


The pubs chefs are raring to go (if only)

Two weeks today we should be funnel drinking ale & basking in the success of having seen this long project come to fruitarian. Suffice to say there’s still a shit load to do.

The gas, which has been a major potential stumbling block, looks like it may just work out for us. From a provisional date to upgrade our gas supply of the 21st June we are now informed, after twice daily pestering for 3 weeks, that this will now happen on the evening of the 13th June. This is going to be tight. The kitchen equipment arrives on Monday 11th but can’t be commissioned until 14th once the new gas metre is in. This will give the chefs a little over 3 days to get cooking in preparation for opening. Which leads nicely into another little problem, we don’t really have any chefs at the moment!

We have made a formal offer to a head chef, which we are confident he will accept. He is able to start next week & he’s very good (news on him when (!) he accepts). In addition to that we have a plan that involves using chefs from Flatcappers sister company Loungers as Loungers has a surplus of chefs waiting to start work at their new café/bar in Oldfield Park, Bath. This will get us through for the first month or so & buys us valuable time to get ourselves sorted.

Front of house staff are also a tiny bit scarce with Pierre being the only certainty, should his health hold out over the next 2 weeks! So suffice so say we trying to bust some serious moves on the recruitment front.

In addition there’s concern about when the flagstone floor for the bar will arrive. Wednesday would be wonderful but may be a bit too much to ask.

At this stage of pre-opening it gets very hectic & the trades on site all want a piece of you. The floors are being sanded on Thursday but the parquet in the hallway has not yet been laid. The kitchen is being delivered on Monday but the floor sanders might need Monday to finish & the floor that the kitchen fitters need to walk back & forth over is in the hallway. We need to sign off the proofs for the signs & the pump clips & god we need to decide on the menu presentation as that’s going to take a week to turnaround. Coke want to install, as do Heineken, we need to schedule in delivery of the stillage & who’s going to install the beer lines for the ales? The stone masons don’t think the stone we need to finish off the fire place will be with us on time, the sparkies are whinging about the antique wall lights we’ve bought, we can’t get into one of the ladies cubicles because the sink is too big, the door to the gents is too big & will look stupid if we trim it back, & the porta-loo should be condemned!! Not to mention we’ve forgotten about the bedrooms.

The 18th, the beer, the relief, & money going into the bank (we hope) instead of flowing out.


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